MILWAUKEE — The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will be closing part of I-41/US 45 over the weekend.
According to WISDOT, the 54-hour closure will begin at 11 p.m. on Friday night and last until 5 a.m. on Monday morning.
The closure will take place on the north and southbound side between Watertown Plank Road and Burleigh Street, making a total closure of 1.7 miles. The work is weather-dependent.
The closure is taking place for the full removal of the Union Pacific Railroad bridge over I-41/US 45.
Additional work will be completed during the same time frame to prepare for further 2022 construction within the work zone.
“What it’s going to allow us to do is remove the Union Pacific railroad that goes over I-41 and that is really a key spot for all the work that is coming,” said Michael Pyritz, Regional Communication Manager of Southeastern WI for the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation
There will also be smaller ramp closures on Greenfield Avenue, 84th street, Bluemound Road, Wisconsin-100, Hampton Avenue and Capitol Drive.
According to WISDOT, the north leg of the zoo interchange project marks the final major stretch necessary to complete the project in its entirety. It is expected to take two more years to widen and finish each side of the stretch.
Since 2004, the Zoo Interchange project has amassed a price tag of about $1.6 billion dollars.
“The nice thing is when we get it done, we’re looking at 50 years plus until the next time we have to worry about it,” Pyritz said.
This weekend’s bridge removal allows workers to widen the stretch of road, then replace the old bridge. The road will still be three lanes each way, but wider.
WISDOT notes once it’s biggest obstacle, the longstanding train bridge, is removed, they will be busy working to complete a project that began nearly 20 years ago.
“Once we get the warmer weather, it’s gonna be a lot of construction kicking in in a big way,” Pyritz said.
The project is set to be complete in its entirety in 2024.
The Department of Transportation shared multiple maps showing the closures as well as alternate routes. They are below.